Arrow TV Reviews

TV Review: Arrow, “Streets of Fire” (S2/EP22) – They Just Went Avengers/Dark Knight Rises On Us

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Streets of Fire

  • Airdate: 5/7/2014
  • Director: Nick Copus (Dresden Files, Nikita, Alphas, previously directed Arrow’s “Time of Death”)
  • Writer: Jake Coburn & Ben Sokolowski ( previously wrote Arrow’s “The Promise” together)

That mean old Slade Wilson had everyone – well, not Felicity – pretty much dead to rights last week, arranging a Michael Corleone-esque simultaneous hit on everyone in Oliver’s life.   How are our heroes going to get out of this one?  Let’s break it down:

THE RECAP –

Team Arrow –

Felicity drives a van into Isabel to save Diggle, and Laurel frees herself from rubble in the sewers using Oliver’s bow and (exploding) arrow.  She departs to rendezvous with her papa while old school Team Arrow attempts to meet up with the courier from Starling City who has brought the mirakuru cure with him (thanks Cisco Ramon and Caitlin Snow!).  Along the way, they’re stunned at the destruction being visited upon the city, and once they fail to get to the courier before Slade’s goons they retreat to the clock tower so that Felicity can take her turn as the one to tell Oliver to buck up after he briefly indulges in self-pity.  That’s nice and all, but they were genuinely s.o.l. until Sebastian Blood, having watched the district attorney’s neck snapped right in front of him, realizes Oliver was totally right about not trusting Slade Wilson.  Dude wants to watch Starling City burn.  So, he steals the Mirakuru cure, and hands it off Oliver and Diggle.  Isabel kills him for this treachery while Oliver can’t bring himself to test the cure on Roy (what if it kills him?).  That is until he discovers from Amanda Waller that they have until dawn before she wipes Starling City off the map.  Well, sorry, Roy, but your test subject #1 for the cure.

Team Lance –

Former Detective Lance is made actual Detective Lance by his boss since his argument of, “To beat the mask (Slade’s masked foot soldiers) we need the mask (Oliver)” made as much sense as anything else when superhuman bastards are destroying the city.

Elsewhere, Laurel runs into Canary in the city, quickly hugs her and calls her Sara.  They have a heart-to-heart in which Sara basically says, “I’m no good!” and Laurel says, “Well, you’re a-okay in my book,” and then they move on to proving Laurel right when Sara, as Canary, is a straight up hero, running into a burning building, Spider-Man 2-style, to save a little girl.  By the end, the Lance gals meet up with their dad at police headquarters, and watch TV coverage of Argus blocking off the exits out of Starling City, The Dark Knight Rises-style.

Team Merlyn –

Streets of Fire

Malcolm saves Thea at the bus terminal, and when she runs away from him outside he explains that he came back to protect her.  I don’t know about that,  Thea.  Dude is cra…holy crap, he just defeated one of Slade’s goons in front of you.  Hmm.  Maybe he’s telling the truth.  Yet Thea pulls a gun on him, threatening to shoot.  Malcolm delivers a lovely speech about recognizing the anger in her eyes because he sadly knows all too well the pain of having  loved ones ripped from you.  She ends the episode firing multiple shots anyway.  Remember, she has wicked aim.  If she truly was firing at Malcolm she likely didn’t miss.

Meanwhile, Back on the Island… –

Oliver storms the Amazo (a name that sounds so much more stupid when the characters on the show say it out loud), frees Sara, tells her to flee to safety on the submarine with Russian guy, and when she refuses they head hand-in-hand to Ivo’s old office only to find Slade waiting for them, having already discovered Ivo’s “cure.”

THE REVIEW

There are certain things you can count on with Arrow: Felicity’s one-liners, Stephen Amell’s abs as well as his love for dramatic pauses and odd way of delaying actually looking at the person to whom he is speaking, flashback sequences, clunky plotting, and an uncanny ability to pull it all together and hit it out of the park when it counts.  Season 2 has been a real mixed bag, but those “big” episodes which the show needed us to love (“Three Ghosts,” “Heir to the Demon,” “The Promise”) were pretty successful with me.  However, season 1 was the same way, at least in how uniformly strong its “big” episodes were.  

Last season it was Malcolm Merlyn threatening a mere portion (the poor portion, specifically) of Starling City; now it’s Slade Wilson going all Emperor Nero, wishing to watch the entire city burn to the ground.  Wait, what?  Seriously?  Because he promised Oliver he’d destroy everything he loved, and Oliver loves Starling City? Does Oliver really love Starling City, though?  He’s never seemed to have a great love for the town – just his dad, for whom he sought to fix the city to atone for his dad’s sins, and his best friend, for whom he strived to be a better hero for the city.  Plus, are we seriously supposed to believe that Slade would have allowed the Mirakuru to be stolen from him by Sebastian so easily?  You’d think he’d have it guarded or something.    

Blind Spot
Oh, btw, if you ever steal anything from me I’ll kill you

But I digress.  At this point, it’s too late to really quarrel over Slade Wilson’s motivation for his actions, the actual logic behind his plan, or something like the relative success of the season long story arcs for Sara and Laurel.  I’ve done all of that in prior reviews.  We are almost to the end now.  You’re either with what the show is doing or you’re not, and what they’re doing is sometimes clunky, like the “Would Sebastian have been able to steal that?” question. 

Similar to the season 1 finale “Sacrifice,” “Streets of Fire” attempts to pull off an action-packed final act of a big budget comic book movie on a CW TV show budget.  As such, everyone is acting as if it is life or death, and we see a big stunt involving a van crashing.  Plus, there are characters standing in front of obviously fake backdrops meant to make Starling City appear to be on fire.  It is purely fun stuff, and given their limitations you can forgive them if the city street the van drives down clearly looks like a controlled environment with precious few civilians (i.e., expensive extras) running for safety. 

Recognizing their own limitations, they chose to localize the carnage being brought about by Slade’s men since although we see far away in the distance how the city is on fire it is in locations we know (the police precinct, the mayor’s office, even kind of the bus terminal) around characters we like (Quentin, Thea) that we actually see the violence up close.  Plus, they chose to work in some smaller character moments, giving Felicity a turn on the “give Oliver a pep talk speech because he’s feeling down again” carousel and finding a moment during the chaos to give Sara and Laurel a heart-to-heart.

Streets of Fire
Laurel’s aim has been very accurate as of late, piercing the hearts of Oliver and Sara in consecutive episodes

 In fact, it’s probably not any of the action (except maybe the cool van crash) but instead those two conversations which will stand out to people with this episode.   Nick Copus’ direction of Oliver and Felicity’s scene was, well, odd.  It began with the camera focusing on Oliver looking almost directly at the camera and then on Felicity with her head turned and hand raised to her head wound, fighting back tears.  I found myself unsure as to whether or not Oliver was looking directly at her (he wasn’t), and if perhaps her head hurt far more than she was letting on (as far as we know, it didn’t).  Copus’ concept was likely to begin on close-ups of the both of them not facing each other and no one else in the frame, and then to build to their hug to organically start from a position of emphasizing isolation and closing on connection, visually punctuating Felicity’s declaration, “You are NOT alone!”  However, I think it got away from him, and distracted from Bett Rickards acting her but off in an otherwise potent scene.

I have no technical qualms with Laurel’s scene with Sara, though.  The only thing which dragged that scene down was the slight redundancy.  Felicity is far from the first person this season to cheer Oliver up (heck, she AND Laurel just did it last week), and Laurel is not the first one who’s had to ensure Sara that she is a good person worthy of love.  However, Laurel was actually very endearing in that sequence, totally landing the line about the beauty of the word “canary,” and it led to a very Spider-Man 2-esque bit of Sara saving the kid in the burning building because that’s what heroes do.  It might be a tad irksome that this is now consecutive episodes in which Laurel has been used as the person harnessing the hero’s inner light, with the idea being her struggles earlier in the season have imbued her with the wisdom and strength to be the one to get through to those in despair.   However, it is clearly their way of revealing Laurel as having emerged a stronger person at the end of her season long story arc, although the damage the show did to her in the first half of the season is so severe it might be difficult for some to ever embrace her again.

City of Blood
So, did they all know it was Sebastian Blood under the mask?  If so, were they just humoring him, never intending to follow his orders?

It’s a shame Laurel couldn’t have applied her new talents to the now-dead Sebastian Blood.  Kevin Allejandro likely gave more to Sebastian Blood than the writers did, and his loss will be felt much in the same way Susanna Thompson’s will: he was one of the better actors they had around.  There’s a version of this season where his death would have felt more important (they just killed the mayor!), but the hint of hesitation on his part from last week was thankfully carried over this week, finally giving us among the trio of villains a, if not sympathetic, then definitely slightly repentant one.  One does wonder why on Earth he truly would have thought Slade and Isabel would have left him completely alone after giving away the cure, other than blind, “I’m the mayor!” power trip.

 THE BOTTOM LINE

Is it a bit much to accept that Slade means to burn the town to the ground, and Amanda Waller will blow it up to stop him (yet oddly reach the same end point)?  Or that Sebastian would really be able to so easily steal the Mirakuru cure?  Yeah, but did you see that part where the van crashed?  That was pretty awesome, right?  We are in definite heightened reality at this point, and just going full steam ahead at the end of the season is Arrow‘s strong suit.  Sure, that doesn’t excuse clunkiness, but considering that they’re trying to do a The Dark Knight Rises/The Avengers scenario (city under siege, military blocking off exits/sending in the bomb) on a CW budget their reach shall slightly exceed their grasp.  That doesn’t stop “Streets of Fire” from being a purely fun episode, which really built up the momentum for the season finale.  

THE NOTES

1. What was with those close-ups of Oliver’s hand on Felicity in this episode?  It happened twice, after she hugged him in the clock tower, and then again as he left the tower to meet up with Sebastian.  Simply clumsy directing, or foreshadowing for the season finale?   

2. Oliver: “The cure is gone!” I get that’s bad, and people are dying all over the place, but that courier guy died 100% because of you.  Isn’t that also kind of sad?  

3. Is it cool that in the flashbacks we have now seen the moment where Anatoli pledges lifelong friendship to Oliver?  Or does it just seem like a long time ago at this point that Anatoli popped up in the present day (“Keep Your Enemies Closer”) and first introduced their friendship?  With his closing bit about promising to also teach Oliver Russian I assume this means we’ll be seeing him again in the flashbacks next season.    

4. I am curious if Arrow could pull off the season 5 episode of Angel which followed a day in the life of Angel’s secretary Harmony, just substituting Felicity in for Harmony.  However, partially because they are so tied to their Oliver flashbacks, and also due to their adherence to a fairly dramatic tone I don’t think Arrow will ever do a purely comedic episode.  That’s a Joss Whedon thing.  However, they did surprise me with a very funny Joss Whedon moment in “Streets of Fire” by having Felicity run Isabel over before she’d finished her evil villain speech, a trick utilized mutiple times across the Whedon shows and films (e.g., Loki and Hulk in Avengers).  I loved it.

5. Thea to Malcolm: “How are you even still alive?”  Like the show itself, Malcolm chooses not to give that an honest answer, or, in this case, even acknowledge the question. 

6. Sara: “There’s nothing here for me.” She says that to her sister.  Her sister.  While the town is burning, and she hasn’t even asked if her father is okay.  There’s self-pity, and there’s, “Oh, come on writers.  Sara’s not that tone-deaf.”

7. Who is Slade’s one person left to die?  If not Oliver then it’s the one he loves the most.  The candidates: Thea, Laurel, Sara, Felicity.  I’m expecting a) an unexpected option, such as Slade’s ultimate plan is to kill himself and leave Oliver to suffer somehow; or b) whomever Slade picks as the “most-loved” will be one of the potential love interests, thus instigating debate among shippers over the summer.

Well, I’ve said enough.  What did you think of this episode?  Let us know in the comments section.

All of the pictures used in the above review, unless otherwise noted, came from CWTV.com © 2014 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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13 comments

  1. I really loved this episode. It was so much fun and everyone got great moments.

    My only real nitpick was Oliver waffling, for the bazillionth time, about the mirakuru cure. I mean, he’s pretty much placed the blame on himself for all this because he didn’t give Slade the cure when he had the chance. So they get the cure and he hesitates to give it to Roy? I mean, yeah, I get it. It’s untested but you literally do not have a choice here, Oliver.

    The team getting their hands on the cure after Slade and his cronies got time to futz around with it makes me worry though.

    Re: your issue with Sara’s “there’s nothing here for me.” It’s really not a tone-deaf line at all. Sara’s pretty much proved repeatedly that her family isn’t as important to her as her own happiness and pride. Sleeping with Oliver, playing dead for several years, then when she did come home the first time, she still didn’t tell them anyone she was alive until she had to tell Quentin because she’d brought danger to his door in the form of the League.

    Malcolm acting like Tommy was just another person he loved ripped away from him by society when it was his actions that killed Tommy made me so angry and I nearly cried that it Thea the same way. I just… literally cannot get over Tommy dying. Since Malcolm is apparently one of s3’s big bads, I’m not sure I’m going to be able to tolerate it!

    I see Felicity’s speech bothered you too but for totally different reasons than it did me. I think she’s hiding something. The way the camera had a close-up on her after she watched Diggle leave and she looked like she was about to just lose it in a crying fit. Then her saying “this is not your fault”. Well, yeah, it really kinda is Oliver’s fault unless what she meant was “it’s my fault.”

    We know Slade has been able to spy on the team. He had bugs on their phones and that’s how they were able to steal the cure from the STAR Labs guy. Why hasn’t “I can hack a Russian database without knowing Russian and defuse a bomb after reading about it on the internet” Felicity been able to pick up on those bugs? Slade has also had opportunities to hurt her, yet, he hasn’t at all. During the big speech Slade made when he first showed up, they showed Felicity when he was talking about corrupting those Oliver loves. Maybe he’s already corrupted Felicity? But maybe she had a change of heart and that’s why Isabel wants to put a bullet in her face?

    Felicity’s father is supposed to be this huge deal. I think it’s either Slade or Ivo. This allowed Slade to get to her, to corrupt her against Oliver, either by telling her what Oliver did to Ivo or what Oliver did to him. The only reason I’m even thinking this is because we know someone shocking is/was working against the team. What would be more shocking than it being Felicity? It would almost be “Unthinkable”.

    I don’t think it will break the team permanently but it would sure add some drama to next season.

    Anyway, I wish it was Wednesday already!

    1. ” It was so much fun and everyone got great moments.”

      I was consciously aware of some of the nitpicky-y stuff about the clunky plotting as I was watching the episode, but I just didn’t really care because everything was still clicking as it does when this show is really “on.”

      “My only real nitpick was Oliver waffling, for the bazillionth time, about the mirakuru cure”

      Even though that bit didn’t actually bother me – you’re not wrong. Oliver’s waffling over the cure, and then going straight into action after hearing Waller’s crazy plan reminded me of David Tennant’s final episode of Doctor Who where he refuses to take the gun which is being offered to him because as the hero he would never use such a weapon. Then he hears just how crazy the bad guy’s plan is, and he takes the gun right away, springing into action.

      “Sara’s pretty much proved repeatedly that her family isn’t as important to her as her own happiness and pride”

      Sara’s line about there being nothing in town for her is likely meant as a parallel to her line in the flashback about simply wanting to go home again and see her family, a way of marking just how much she had changed. My main qualm was not about Sara’s selfishness/selflessness, really, and more that based upon how much they beat home the idea of Sara protecting her sister and her father, with Arrow’s help, it rang false to me for her to indulge in self pity before at least asking Laurel if she knew if their dad was okay just the same way I never bought that Sara would leave Starling City a couple of episodes ago without first ensuring her family was safe.

      “Malcolm acting like Tommy was just another person he loved ripped away from him by society when it was his actions that killed Tommy made me so angry and I nearly cried that it Thea the same way.”

      I don’t feel nearly as strongly about Malcolm or Tommy, although I have missed Colin Donnell this season (I loved his cameo in Three Ghosts). I am with you on Thea – she was kind of awesome in that entire sequence, although no one seems to seriously believe she was shooting Malcolm at the end.

      “I see Felicity’s speech bothered you too but for totally different reasons than it did me.”

      I’ve now read a bunch of other reviews, and I seem to be the only one who even referenced the technical direction in the scene, although a couple of other sites and forums have quoted my review’s description of the direction.

      I’m now aware that Tumblr and fan forums and various other pockets of the Arrow fandom on the internet are absolutely running wild with the theory that Felicity will betray Oliver in the season finale. As you pointed out, in “Three Ghosts” Slade promised to tear everything Oliver cares about away from him (Lance looking at his police shield), destroy those who choose to follow him (Roy looking at his mirakuru-healed leg), and corrupt those he loves (Felicity smiling at her computer). At this point, Slade’s plans have come to fruition with both Lance and Roy, yet he’s had nothing to do with Felicity. Plus, back in March Guggenheim told THR, “We’ll be doing something with Oliver and Felicity by the end of the year that will really confound and satisfy some viewers and infuriate others, but I think that’s when you know you’re taking chances.” (http://wp.me/p39B8E-2uP)

      On this point, I will simply say this: it will be a colossally, monumentally stupid idea if they in fact have Felicity betray Oliver somehow. It would certainly be “unthinkable,” and would probably be one of those, “See, that’s why we had those two fighting so much earlier in the season, i.e., to weaken their bond, and that’s why we’ve had Slade conveniently stay completely away from her.” It would also likely be tied in to the truth of her parentage somehow. However, I honestly hate every single part of this theory, and I’ll just stop there to wait and see how it all goes down in the finale.

      1. I think it could be also be that the reason for Isabel’s animosity might be that they weren’t able to get to Felicity but, for some reason, she never even told Oliver they tried. Again, if it happens, it’s probably to do with her paternity. Maybe they told her Oliver killed her dad or something.

        I also think the incident Guggenheim might be speaking of could be the “I’ll kill the person he loves most” and that person being Felicity. Because I’m sure you’ve seen the stills from Unthinkable that were published. It really doesn’t infuriate me that Slade has Felicity. It may make sense in his mind to think it is Felicity that Oliver loves most, though, it seems to me the only clue he would have is when he attacked them in the foundry and Oliver grabbed Felicity to protect her. But, Slade’s a nut job that thinks Shado is telling him to do all this so. What would infuriate me is if they actually play it as the truth because that person should actually be Thea unless they’re intending to trash Oliver’s character even more.

        I could see using it to explore the Olicity thing later. This is Oliver Queen we’re talking about, after all.

      2. “I think it could be also be that the reason for Isabel’s animosity might be that they weren’t able to get to Felicity but, for some reason, she never even told Oliver they tried.”

        It’s possible. I never took Isabel’s animosity to bear any real subtext beyond the cattiness she threw Felicity’s way during the Russia episode and in subsequent interactions. However, the fact does remain that Isabel was partnering with Slade from the get-go, and the producers chose to hold the shot on Felicity’s face when Slade spoke of corrupting Oliver’s allies against him.

        “I also think the incident Guggenheim might be speaking of could be the “I’ll kill the person he loves most” and that person being Felicity.”

        Also true. There might be nothing more to this than simply the fact that it appears as if the person Slade believes Oliver loves the most is Felicity, not Sara, not Laurel, not even his own sister Thea, but Felicity. More than anything else, I think Felicity simply the most vulnerable, and that Oliver worrying about her after the car crash in the recent episode or jumping to her defense when Slade struck the Arrow Cave is because he feels responsibly for placing this girl who can’t totally defend herself in danger.

        I can see an ultimate scenario where maybe it turns out Dr. Ivo was Felicity’s dad, and Slade tried to use that information (and that Oliver killed Ivo) to get at Felicity, yet she refused to be corrupted and ends the episode being saved by Oliver. I’d prefer that the identity of her parents actually not turn out to be a big deal or someone improbably connected to Oliver, though. I’d prefer she simply be the person Slade takes, thinking her the one Oliver loves the most, and if need be the alteraction springboards into more Olicity teasing for next season. The one thing that will completely shock me, though, is if Felicity doesn’t survive the episode, especially since her daddy drama is supposedly a big thing next season and she seems an obvious candidate to cross-over to Flash for an episode or two. So, if they kill her this episode they’ll have clearly lost their minds…unless she’s then revived with mirakuru, and even then it would still be a dumb move.

        Sadly, Wednesday isn’t quite here yet, and we still have to wait to see how this all plays out. Craziness!

  2. Wow, i totally forgot they showed Felicity when Slade said he was going to corrupt those Oliver loved. And i noticed, like a lot of fans have, that Felicity is the only one that hasn’t been attacked by Slade or even had any kind of interaction with him. You might be on to something… I think that Emily Bett nailed that pep talk scene, she was great. I loved Sara and Laurel together. It was funny though, dad thinks Laurel doesn’t know, Laurel thinks dad doesn’t know, they both know and Sara knows that they both know 🙂

    1. “It was funny though, dad thinks Laurel doesn’t know, Laurel thinks dad doesn’t know, they both know and Sara knows that they both know”

      Agreed. That was a fun little moment.

  3. When this show is good, it’s very very good, and I thought this episode was. AS always, the action sequences were amazing but unlike The Promise, they didn’t overwhelm the story.

    It’s a large cast and they haven’t always handled integrating it well. I liked that here they split up into three groups (Team Arrow; Lance family; Merlyn and Thea) each with its own purpose in terms of the storytelling and each character, except poor Roy, getting a decent role.

    I think Katie Cassidy works best opposite Paul Blackthorne and Caity Lotz and I finally got the reconciliation between Laurel and Sara that I’ve been waiting for since Sara first showed up in Starling City again. Bonus was Quentin finally being able to call on the Arrow in public.

    I realized how much I missed Malcolm Merlyn when he showed up to save Thea. A little can go a long way with the over-the-top craziness (see: Wilson, Slade) but it was good to see him here. I also noticed that physically John Barrowman resembles Willa Holland and I wondered why Robert Queen hadn’t noticed the resemblance before.

    They redeemed Sebastian Blood for me at the end, and with killing off Kate Spencer, my hope started bubbling that Laurel will become Manhunter and they won’t need to kill Sara off to give Laurel her job.

    No complaints about Team Arrow at all, finally back to their earlier glory, although it would have been okay to give Diggle some more on-screen things to do. But from the promo pictures, he’s going to have his chance next episode. I hope Felicity doesn’t have a head injury that’s going to hit her then.

    Like you, I thought the direction for the Oliver/Felicity pep talk was odd. Clunky. I wondered if they were setting up something for a future arc that they haven’t set up with any obviousness before. People who were watching closely would have seen it but not a casual viewer so they went ham-handed on it. I liked the subtlety of before but this wasn’t so out-of[-left field that i resented it, as I have with other things the show has done.

    In terms of the one left to die, it was Blood who said that it would be the person Oliver loves the most. Everyone has a good reason to make the list: Thea because she is his sister; Laurel his adolescent love, Sara who was his comrade in arms through the nightmare of the island and lately Starling City, and Felicity who along with Diggle has been the Robin to his Batman.

    I hope there won’t be shipper wars over the summer because that tends to kill my interest in a show. The promo pictures are out and we now know who it is. And if you look at it from Slade’s mirakuru-crazed point of view, it makes a kind of sense — Slade loved Shado the most, and he’s picked the person he sees as Oliver’s Shado. It doesn’t have to be the person Oliver loves the most, just the one Slade thinks he would (if he were Slade).

    1. “I think Katie Cassidy works best opposite Paul Blackthorne and Caity Lotz and I finally got the reconciliation between Laurel and Sara that I’ve been waiting for since Sara first showed up in Starling City again.”

      Agreed on all points.

      “I realized how much I missed Malcolm Merlyn when he showed up to save Thea. A little can go a long way with the over-the-top craziness (see: Wilson, Slade) but it was good to see him here. I also noticed that physically John Barrowman resembles Willa Holland and I wondered why Robert Queen hadn’t noticed the resemblance before.”

      The similarities really did seem obvious, didn’t they? When the Malcolm is still alive AND he’s Thea’s dad cliffhanger happened I hated it with a fiery passion, but I encounter quite a few fans who said they had figured that out way back in season 1 if for no other reason than because Thea looked more like Malcolm’s daughter than Robert Queen’s.

      “They redeemed Sebastian Blood for me at the end, and with killing off Kate Spencer, my hope started bubbling that Laurel will become Manhunter and they won’t need to kill Sara off to give Laurel her job.”

      I seem to be have been one of the very few reviewers who didn’t make a joke about Laurel obviously becoming the DA next season now that Kate Spencer was killed off. I was impressed with what they did with Sebastian Blood since he didn’t go full evil nor full hero, but simply someone who was actually sane enough to want his town to not burn to the ground yet delusional enough to truly believe he’d survive the whole ordeal and continue being mayor. It was not the expected route, but I liked it, though I’ll miss that actor.

      “Like you, I thought the direction for the Oliver/Felicity pep talk was odd. Clunky. I wondered if they were setting up something for a future arc that they haven’t set up with any obviousness before”

      It didn’t ruin the scene, since by the time the two were facing each other, Felicity delivering her big speech, you could feel the emotion meant to come across. However, it was distracting. I didn’t say it in my review, but like you I have my suspicions as to whether or not the specific camera angles they chose as well as the two close-ups of Oliver’s hand on Felicity will look confusing now but make complete sense by the time we reach the end of the finale.

      “The promo pictures are out and we now know who it is.”

      Yeah, I’ve seen those, too. It certainly gives off the impression we know who Slade has picked as the person he think Oliver loves the most, but we’re seeing it out of context. So, let’s see how it plays out, but if there is really no more depth to it beyond what we see in the pics I’m fine with the decision. It’s the claptrap about Slade or Ivo turning out to be Felicity’s dad, and Felicity having been secretly corrupted against Oliver that I….well, them’s fightin’ words.

      1. I wonder if Sara was so self-defeating because she had gone to Ra’s to ask for help and he had turned her down. We know that Nyssa shows up next week but Sara may be feeling that she’s done all those horrible things, killed people as an assassin, and she still can’t muster help save her family or Starling City.

        ” I encounter quite a few fans who said they had figured that out way back in season 1 if for no other reason than because Thea looked more like Malcolm’s daughter than Robert Queen’s.”

        I don’t think I have that much trust in the EPs long-range planning. They’ve said that they didn’t write for Isabel during the mid season because they didn’t know if they would make her good or evil.

        “I seem to be have been one of the very few reviewers who didn’t make a joke about Laurel obviously becoming the DA next season now that Kate Spencer was killed off.”

        The sad thing is that it wouldn’t entirely surprise me if they did do that. Sometimes (not this week when Laurel had to be told how to shoot an arrow but sometimes) it seems like Laurel is the show’s candidate for special snowflake status Last episode when she planted a bug in Blood’s office, Quentin told her that she would make a good spy if she ever wanted to quit practicing law. This episode, Sara rushed into a burning building and save a child, and while Quentin looks relieved to see her safe, he says nothing. Granted her secret identity is still secret but when the nameless cop called that woman a hero, he could have said something to Sara like “Yes, she was”.

        For the show itself, I think it would be better storytelling potential to give Laurel in the DA’s office but give her a DA who doesn’t trust the Arrow and thinks he’s going to destroy the city, as Quentin did in season 1, someone she could work against while helping Team Arrow. That would give her an antagonist that is primarily hers while incorporating her into the A story.

        ” It’s the claptrap about Slade or Ivo turning out to be Felicity’s dad, and Felicity having been secretly corrupted against Oliver that I….well, them’s fightin’ words.”

        If it’s true, I do think the EPs should be given a sanity examination. Emily Bett Rickards has always been good value for the show but this episode raised her higher and to throw that away for a cheap moment of shock seems nuts to me.

        I went back to watch the three “Don’t give up, Oliver”scenes from 2×21 and 2×22 and I really don’t give Stephen Amell enough credit for the subtlety in how he sometimes plays Oliver, from the despair of Moira dying, to believing that he is the person Slade said is the one more person who must die and trying to accept that in order for the killing to stop he has to basically commit suicide, to realizing that Slade has no intention of stopping with him and deciding to fight on. (If he had surrendered himself to Slade, .Slade would probably have continued destroying the city and made Oliver watch.

        Oliver has always held himself a bit aloof since he got back, not wanting to get too close to people, and that includes Felicity. When she goes in for the hug in the clock tower, he still holds himself off a bit, and then genuinely hugs her back. In their next scene, Amell plays Oliver more open to Felicity than he’s ever been before as if now that it’s the endgame, he’s letting the walls come down.

      2. “I don’t think I have that much trust in the EPs long-range planning. They’ve said that they didn’t write for Isabel during the mid season because they didn’t know if they would make her good or evil.”

        I’m with you there. The Eps claim to have the 5 years on the island roughly mapped out already, and there are those who point to last season’s drama over Thea’s suspicions about Moira colluding with Malcolm as being a set-up to the reveal of Malcolm as her dad. The same goes for Sara, i.e., those who argue they were convinced from the very beginning that the writers meant to bring her back. Some of that may be true and some may not, but at this point I’d be reluctant to give the EPs/writers the benefit of the doubt.

        “Granted her secret identity is still secret but when the nameless cop called that woman a hero, he could have said something to Sara like “Yes, she was”.”

        Hadn’t thought of that. You’re not wrong.

        “That would give her an antagonist that is primarily hers while incorporating her into the A story.”

        Agreed, although the logic of introducing yet another antagonistic from within the justice system may be influenced by how the Arrow’s actions effect Starling City in the finale. Either way, Quentin had his turn, then Laurel, and they could introduce someone new to fulfill that role next season, which would help Laurel out in exactly the ways you described. There is still is that random, crazy Rambo-like cop who opposed “all masked vigilantes” in the Huntress episode. Actually, screw that guy. Leave him off-screen for good. Could they go somewhere new, and do a vigilante story in which the vigilante is not really an enemy of the justice system (anymore).

        “Emily Bett Rickards has always been good value for the show but this episode raised her higher and to throw that away for a cheap moment of shock seems nuts to me.”

        Agreed. It would simply be a cheap moment for sheer shock value that would potentially amount to character assassination on their part.

        Your estimation of Amell’s acting is pretty right-on. He’s kind of fun to tease due to some of his actorly tics, such as his way of often aligning the end of his big dramatic sentence with the moment he finally looks directly at the person to whom he’s talking. However, that kind of stuff likely overshadows the subtle, strong work he puts out there, such as his interactions with Felicity in this episode. For all the issues I’ve had with the second season, Amell’s acting has never really been one of them. In fact, he continues to delightfully surprise me.

  4. What’s your guess for what happens? (You can answer in your review.) Or have you seen the episode already?

    Based on today’s interviews, I’m now thinking that Laurel is the one Slade picks as the one Oliver loves the most, and Felicity tries to save her since Oliver, Sara and Roy are busy saving the city. (Just getting it out there now.)

    1. Sadly (for me), I have not seen the episode already, although if the CW wants to start sending me screeners I sure as heck wouldn’t say no 🙂

      Based upon the most recent round of interviews from the producers as well as the trailers and early photos, we know that both Laurel and Felicity end up taken hostage by Slade at some point, whatever goes down with Felicity will cause tears for some, anger for others, we’ve been advised to watch until the very end (probably just for a glimpse of Flash though), and that there will be one character not present at the start of the third season. I’m choosing to ignore all the speculation about Slade’s secret efforts to corrupt Felicity. Your idea about Felicity trying to save Laurel is a good one.

      What do I think is going to happen? Well, I honestly never saw Tommy’s death coming in the first season finale, having pegged him to be Harry to Malcolm’s Norman Osborn, and the second season has been so loopy I have been pretty consistently wrong about where they were going with things. That being said, regardless of how Felicity ends up there I foresee a Batman Forever situation where Slade forces Oliver to choose between Laurel and Felicity just as Ivo made him choose between Sara and Shado and Slade earlier tried to make him choose between Thea and his mother. The producers have warned us that Oliver’s mantra of not killing will be put to the ultimate test in this episode, and I could see them running with that by re-using the “choose who dies” scenario for a third and final time, making it seem as if his prior failures in those scenarios was all leading up to this. I think that Slade will somehow be given the cure rather than killed, and I have this sneaky feeling that they’re going to fake-kill someone, like want us to believe Felicity is dead before somehow reviving her. They could also pull a Doctor Who (Rory & Amy’s last episode) on us, and make us believe everything is okay before sticking the knife in our back real quick by having Oliver win the day only to have Felicity unexpectedly collapse due to the lingering head trauma from the car crash.

      Honestly, I am fine with any one of those scenarios just as long as Felicity doesn’t turn out to be Slade or Ivo’s daughter or something. It’s interesting, though, how Sara’s not really seen that much in the trailer or photos since she was the one everyone’s been debating about this season in the category of will she/won’t she get killed off. So, I have that in the back of my mind, but based upon the evidence at hand I don’t really expect her to factor into the Felicity/Laurel stand-off.

      1. Thanks for answering.

        Oliver has already chosen saving the city over saving Laurel in the preview clip but Laurel vs Felicity is another matter.

        I hope they don’t kill Sara so that Laurel can take up her mask. And killing Felicity is an absolute deal-breaker for me. Other than that, let the games begin!

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